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Explore the archaeology and history of Syria. Delve into the world from which the Bible emerged. These articles and books have been hand-picked to offer you an introduction to the historically and culturally rich land of Syria.

Fully-Illustrated Feature Articles on Syria

The New ‘Ain Dara Temple: Closest Solomonic Parallel
BAR May/Jun 2000
by John Monson

A stunning parallel to Solomon’s Temple has been discovered in northern Syria. The temple at ‘Ain Dara has far more in common with the Jerusalem Temple described in the Book of Kings than any other known building. Yet the newly excavated temple has received almost no attention in this country, at least partially because the impressive excavation report, published a decade ago, was written in German by a Syrian scholar and archaeologist. Read more.

The Egyptianizing of Canaan
BAR May/Jun 1998
by Carolyn R. Higginbotham

In the centuries before Israel emerged in the highlands of Canaan, first as a people and then as a nation, the region was essentially ruled by Egypt. But how are we to understand this hegemony? Until a little more than a century ago, about the only source of information we had regarding Egyptian-Canaanite relations was the Bible. In 1887, however, a female peasant made a stupendous discovery at a site in Egypt called Tell el-Amarna. Digging up decayed mudbricks for fertilizer, she unearthed a cache of cuneiform tablets. Since such tablets had never before been found in Egypt, scholars were initially skeptical of their authenticity. Nevertheless, the tablets were peddled to those antiquities dealers, scholars and museum curators who were interested in them. Read more.

Where Aramaic is Spoken
BAR Jan/Feb 2008
by Dorothy Resig

The language that Jesus spoke has been preserved for thousands of years in the mountains of Syria. The streets and shops of a tiny village called Malula (population: 5,000) are some of the last places on earth where you can still hear Aramaic being spoken. Read more.

Recommended DVDs

Honor and Shame

Honor and Shame: Core Values of the Biblical World

The concepts of honor and shame are both ancient and pervasive in the Middle East, and have had a profound effect on the shaping of human history, from the Biblical age up to the present. In this riveting lecture, Dr. Richard Rohrbaugh examines this ancient value system and how it influenced the culture of the Biblical world, and illuminates how it plays a crucial role in today's socio-political climate.

Recommended Books

The Monuments of Syria: A Guide
by Ross Burns

The Monuments of Syria is organized as a gazetteer of all Syria’s historical sites, with complementary sections on history and architectural influences and comprehensive chronologies and glossaries. This fully revised edition includes the latest information about site visits and the layout of museums, extensive and detailed itineraries for further travel and a new 24-page color section.

Damascus: A History
by Ross Burns

Damascus traces the story of this colourful, significant and complex city through its physical development, from its obscure origins in the Bronze Age through the changing cavalcade of Aramaean, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Turkish and French rulers right up to the end of Ottoman control in 1918.

The Great Mosque of Damascus: Studies on the Makings of an Ummayad Visual Culture (Islamic History and Civilization)
by Finbarr Barry Flood

This book provides a detailed study of the Great Mosque, using textual, visual and archaeological evidence. The work explores the function of religious architecture within an official visual discourse intended to project a distinctive Muslim identity determined by Umayyad political aspirations.

Damascus: Hidden Treasures of the Old City
by Brigid Keenan

The Image Of An Ottoman City: Imperial Architecture And Urban Experience In Aleppo In The 16th And 17th Centuries (Ottoman Empire and Its Heritage)
by Heghnar Zeitlian

by Iain Browning

The Arabs
by David Lamb

Negotiating for Peace in the Middle East
by Ismail Fahmy

A Concise History of the Middle East
by Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr.

The ninth edition of this widely acclaimed text by Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. and Lawrence Davidson has been extensively revised to reflect the latest scholarship and the most recent events in the Middle East. As an introduction to the history of this turbulent region from the beginnings of Islam to the present day, the book is distinguished by its clear style, broad scope, and balanced treatment.

The Koran: a New Translation and Presentation
translation by Henry Mercier

Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World, Third Edition
by Thomas W. Lippman

Lippman's study of the Muslim world--from its earliest roots to today's global power politics--includes crucial new material on the Islamic community today. There are also updated descriptions of internal politics in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and other Islamic nations. Essential reading for both students and all who seek greater understanding of the world in which we live.

Arab Personalities in Politics
by Majid Khadduri

Faith and Power, the Politics of Islam
by Edward Mortimer

Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey
by V.S. Naipaul

Naipaul's controversial account of his travels through the Islamic world was hailed by The New Republic as "the most notable work on contemporary Islam to have appeared in a very long time."

With Lawrence in Arabia (Classic Reprint)
by Lowell Thomas

History of the Arabs, Revised: 10th Edition
by Philip Hitti

Sandcastles: The Arabs in Search of the Modern World (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East)
by Milton Viorst and Alfred A. Knopf

The Arab World: Society, Culture, and State
by Halim Barakat

In the Eye of the Storm: The Life of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti

A biography of the man who waged war in the cradle of civilization employs interviews with family and friends to describe Schwarzkopf's childhood, his role in the military, his values, and more.

Syria: Modern state in an Ancient Land
by John F. Devlin, Westview

Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
by T.E. Lawrence

Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the monumental work that assured T.E. Lawrence's place in history as "Lawrence of Arabia." Not only a consummate military history, but also a colorful epic and a lyrical exploration of the mind of a great man, this is one of the indisputable classics of 20th century English literature. Line drawings throughout.

The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
by Amin Maalouf

The author has combed the works of contemporary Arab chronicles of the Crusades, eyewitnesses and often participants. He retells their story and offers insights into the historical forces that shape Arab and Islamic consciousness today.

Asad: The Sphinx of Damascus : A Political Biography
by Moshe Maoz

The author, an Israeli historian, offers a cool, evenhanded assessment of Israel's archenemy, without demonizing Syria's president Hafiz al Asad. Asad, who has used political assassination against fellow Arabs, is would-be leader of an all-Arab confrontation with Israel.